Volvo Cars, the premium car maker of Sweden, and its Chinese owner Geely Holding has announce they will jointly invest RMB 5 billion (EUR 640 million) in a new standalone electric performance brand called Polestar. This initial investment will support the initial phase of Polestar’s product, brand and industrial development to become a fully consolidated Volvo Cars subsidiary.
The first production model was announced in Shanghai as Polestar confirmed plans for its first three models, a new purpose-built production facility in China and a customer-focused route to market that will set a new industry benchmark for performance vehicles.
The investment will be used, among other things, to establish a state-of-the-art Polestar manufacturing facility in Chengdu, China, marking a new chapter in the development of China as a manufacturing hub for Volvo Cars.
The company’s first car, the 600hp Polestar 1, is set to roll off the production line in mid-2019. In the development of next generation technologies Polestar’s technology and product offering benefits from synergies and economies of scale enabled by the Volvo Car Group. Polestar will also benefit from having privileged access to Volvo’s global and well-established manufacturing standards and expertise. This helps Polestar to accelerate design, development and production processes at fraction of the time it takes other new entrants.
This set-up will radically shorten the time Polestar needs to commercially launch its cars, giving it a strategic advantage compared to competitors.
The Polestar 1 exemplifies the inherent synergies between the Volvo and Polestar brands. Around half of the technology under the skin of the Polestar 1 is based on Volvo’s in-house developed SPA modular vehicle architecture, while the remaining half is entirely new and bespoke technology created by Polestar engineers working within Volvo’s R&D department.
With China as a driving force behind the electrification of the global car industry, Polestar will spearhead the development of new technologies and enhance Volvo Cars’ leadership within electrification and connectivity.
Polestar’s first production car, the Polestar 1, is a 600hp two-door, four-seater hybrid coupé with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain. Supported by an internal combustion engine it has a pure electric range of 150km – the longest full electric range of any hybrid car on the market. Its output of 600hp and 1000Nm of torque places the car firmly in the performance car segment. The electrified performance car will go in production in Chengdu in mid-2019, and will be closely followed later in 2019 by a smaller vehicle named Polestar 2.
“Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it – a great start for our new Polestar brand. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand,” said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath.
The Polestar 1 is based upon Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) but approximately 50% is new and bespoke, created by Polestar’s engineers. To reinforce its dynamic driving characteristics, Polestar 1 benefits from a host of new technologies, all aimed at making it a true driver’s car. Polestar 1 is the world’s first car to be fitted with the all-new class-leading Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) advanced chassis technology. A carbon fibre body reduces bodyweight and improves torsional stiffness by 45%, as well as lowering the cars’ centre of gravity.
Crucially, Polestar will also move away from today’s traditional ownership model. Cars will be ordered 100% online and offered on a two or three year subscription basis. The zero-deposit, all-inclusive subscription will also add features such as pick-up and delivery servicing and the ability to rent alternative vehicles within the Volvo and Polestar range, all incorporated into one monthly payment.
The flat rate subscription means that having a Polestar car becomes a hassle-free experience for the customer. This is facilitated by Phone-As-Key technology. It allows the owner to share a virtual key with a third party, and also enables access to a host of other on-demand features. This concierge service ensures that the customer only needs to focus on the enjoyment of driving.
The order books for the new Polestar 1 open on 17 October 2017, with Polestar able to take expressions of interest from prospective customers immediately.
The Polestar 2 will be the first fully electric car launched by Volvo Car Group, and the first of a total of five fully electric Polestar- or Volvo-branded vehicles to be launched between 2019 and 2021. The Polestar models announced today are thus clear proof points of Volvo Cars’ electrification strategy that was revealed in July of this year.
Volvo Cars announced this summer that from 2019 every new Volvo-branded car launched will have an electric motor, making it the first established car company to fully embrace electrification and place it at the core of its future business.
The Polestar 1 will be built in the state-of-the-art, purpose-built Polestar Production Centre in Chengdu, China. Currently under construction, it is due for completion in mid-2018.
Today, Polestar builds the S60 and V60 Polestar, 367hp performance road cars with over 250 developments over-and-above the standard Volvo products. It also offers Polestar Engineered performance hardware upgrades and engine software optimisations for existing Volvo products.
All future cars from Polestar will have a fully electric powertrain. Polestar 2 will start production later in 2019 and will be the first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) from the Volvo Car Group. It will be a mid-sized BEV, joining the competition around the Tesla Model 3, and with consequently higher volumes than Polestar 1. The initial phase of the Polestar product roll out will then be completed by the subsequent arrival of a larger SUV-style BEV, the Polestar 3, which will create a modern expression of electric performance and driving dynamics.
The ordering and configuration of Polestar cars will be conducted online via a Polestar app or online portal. However, Polestar also recognises that customers still want to physically engage with the brand so Polestar will open a network of Polestar Spaces around the world. This is where future Polestar customers can interact with products and the brand. Polestar Spaces will be standalone facilities and not within existing Volvo retailer showrooms.